Back in the late Spring of 1985, a woman named Kim and a man named Jim met at a bar.
Because it was the 80’s, Kim sported a black jumpsuit on her tiny (but sexy, of course) 120-pound-frame, and Jim wore an all white outfit…with the buttons undone to show his tanned chest.
It wasn’t exactly the ideal night for either of them –Jim was the DD for the evening and Kim wasn’t getting asked to dance like she usually did. They were both enjoying the scene and the company of their friends, but it wouldn’t go down in the books as an incredible night out.
It would however, be the night that fate played both of them an interesting card.
Jim saw Kim from across the room and as the tales will always tell –he just knew. He knew whoever this woman was, whatever her status or name or style, that she was the one who was designed for him. He knew he would marry her.
Kim however, wasn’t too keen on the idea. After dancing with Jim, she found him cocky and arrogant, and of course he was a damn Yankee from New Jersey, while she was a sweet and sassy gal from North Carolina. Kim’s friend saw the spark between them and without informing Kim first, gave Jim her phone number.
Every weekend from May until about November, Jim called Kim and asked her out on a date. And every single time, Kim had plans –and yet, Jim would call back in a week just to see if maybe she was free. One night, Kim saw a shooting star and for some reason, thought of Jim, and like clockwork, he called the next day to ask her out. Finally, because something told her to just give him a chance, she agreed to go hiking on the parkway.
And there, on top of a mountain, Jim put his arms around Kim…and then she too, just knew. Right there in front of her and on her answering machine was the guy she had waited for, for so long. The guy who against all odds and all her rejection, just knew he wanted her and only her. A month later, Jim proposed, and in February of 1986, the two got married in a little church on a little budget…with lots of love.
Now, 25 years later, they are still happily married and very much in love. Together, they have flipped several houses, traveled, and seen the worse of the worse, and passed the most difficult of trials. Yet, at the end of the day or the end of a very long battle –they still fought for one another and for the love they found in that bar and on that mountain.
And of course, they had one daughter –a 22-year-old writer with her mother’s spunk and her father’s charm, living in New York City.
My parent’s love story is an absolutely amazing one and it’s one that I hope I’ll have one day. I got lucky that my parents are both independent and strong people, and when they haven’t been, I have watched as they have held each other to support them. I admire both of them for their courage and their ability to forgive each other with such honesty, such sincerity, and such unconditional love.
Being an only child, you really get a firsthand and bird’s eye view into the marriage of your mom and dad because you’re around them all the time. I’ve learned a lot about what it means to truly, full-heartedly, and completely love someone by watching my parents and how they handle situations that came up.
While I won’t get into my father’s illness just yet (which is a huge part of my love addiction in some ways), I will say that the period in my family’s life was awful. It pushed not only my father, but my mother and I to the furthest point we could go. It brought us together, it broke us down, made us realize our strength, and tore us apart. And after the ordeal finally came to a close –there was a lot of picking up to do.
What amazed me was how easily and how kindly my parents just…fell back to one another. Sure, the six-year period of ups and downs was not forgotten, but instead of holding a grudge or being angry or upset, my mom welcomed, embraced, and celebrated my father’s health. And my dad made a promise to spend the rest of his life making up the time they lost.
So, if step 4 is about going back and digging into my own relationships, I think merit has to be given to my parents. To the shining example of love and endurance and trust that they embody. To the two people who I truly believe can do anything.
Thank you, mom and dad for teaching me what true love is and to never strive for less than those sparks. You’re with me wherever I go, always.